Researcher Summer School 2017

The 2017 Researcher Summer School provided an opportunity for postgraduate researchers, postdocs, research-active staff and staff involved with research to further their professional and career development through a week of workshops.

Click on the tabs below to find out what we did each day during the 2017 event.

The Old Library

10:00 - 12:30 Critical Reading 

13:30 - 15:00 Making an impact: exploring impact factors in your research 

15:20 - 16:30 Designing undergraduate practical sessions: When is it OK to lie? 


Critical Reading (RDF: A2)

In this interactive workshop, we will explore an approach to academic reading that uses ‘scrolls’ to map journal articles. It will help you to read academic texts efficiently and critically as soon as you open them up and is intended to increase your confidence in selecting and critiquing the wide range of literature needed to support your research. By the end of the session you will be able to:

  • Select articles strategically to enhance understanding and specific enquiry;
  • Identify the location and position of an article in terms of the landscape of your subject / discipline;
  • Analyse the structure of an article's argument before reading it in full;
  • Explore critical analysis/synopsis tools.

Making an impact: exploring impact factors in your research (RDF: A2)

Understand the tools used to measure research impact and how to identify the most influential journals for publishing. By the end of the session you will:

  • Know how to measure impact factors using Web of Science and Publish or Perish;
  • Understand about alternative metrics

Designing undergraduate practical sessions: When is it OK to lie? (RDF: D3)

Learn about how some of the medical school practicals were designed, how we used false positives on medical tests to design interesting yet safe sessions. At the end of this interactive workshop, there will be a brief hands on demonstration - get involved and find out for yourself! By the end of the session you will be able to:

  • Consider some of the issues in designing practicals for large undergraduate classes;
  • Consider when and whether it is better (or necessary) to simulate some of the results you want the undergrads to reach (and whether you should own up at the end).

The Old Library

10:00 - 11:00 Professional Development: Vitae and the Research Development Framework

11:15 - 12:30 Giving Presentations: The Logistics and Biology of Presenting

12:30 - 13:30 Networking lunch

13:30 - 15:00 Keeping up-to-date with your research and the literature

15:20 - 16:30 Mapping and Developing your Digital Presence

16:30 Wine reception with food in the KPA clubhouse



Professional Development: Vitae and the Research Development Framework (RDF: B3)

Learn about Vitae, non-profit programme, who support the professional development of researchers.  Find out about the Researcher Development Framework (RDF) and how to use it to support your professional development, as well as the other resources that Vitae have to offer. By the end of the session you should:

  • Know about the RDF and how you can use it in your own professional development;
  • Know about some of the resources that Vitae have to offer;
  • Know how to find the resources using the Keele and Vitae websites.

Giving Presentations: The Logistics and Biology of Presenting (RDF: D2)

Presentation skills overview with tips and suggestions to enhance the impact of all sorts of presentation types, from teaching to conferences. By the end of the session:

  • Participants should reflect on their own presentation style;
  • Participants will be shown a range of techniques and literature surrounding best practice for giving a presentation;
  • Participants should identify one or two ideas from this session to try in their own presentations.

Keeping up-to-date with your research and the literature (RDF:B3)

Discover tools that will save you time and help you keep up-to-date with your research. By the end of the sessions you should be able to:

  • Understand how Library tools can make information collection easier;
  • Know how to create alerts from Library subscription databases;
  • Understand how Social Media can be used to enhance your research.

Mapping and Developing your Digital Presence (RDF: D2/3)

We all use a wide range of technology tools in our personal and professional lives. This session explores, through a mapping technique, what tools we use, how we use them and what we might want to do to develop or manage our digital identity. By the end of the session you will:

  • Have mapped your digital identity using the visitors and residence model;
  • Identified areas of digital practice you would like to develop further as part of your digital researcher identity.

Networking Lunch

The PVC for Research and Enterprise, Prof David Amigoni, is hosting a networking lunch on Tuesday 8th August. This is an excellent opportunity to network with other research staff and students.

KPA Wine Reception

The KPA are hosting a wine reception and food for anyone who attends the Summer School.  This will take place from 4.30pm in the KPA clubhouse.

The Old Library

10:00 - 11:00 Reference Management with RefWorks

11:15 - 12:30 Introduction to teaching at Keele

13:30 - 15:00 Career Planning: Your PhD, What next? Bitesize

15:20 - 16:30 Blogging for Researchers: Getting Started


Reference Management with RefWorks (RDF: A1)

Demonstration of the New RefWorks - the Library's reference management software - and how to retrieve references from subscription databases and the Internet. By the end of the session you will:

  • Understand how to import references into RefWorks from Library subscription databases;
  • Know how to install the RefWorks tool to import references from any webpage;
  • Know how to organise your references into folders

Introduction to teaching at Keele (RDF: D3)

This workshop will explore the key resources available to support you in your teaching practice and professional development at Keele; the role of small group teaching in student learning; a range of practical ideas for teaching delivery; discuss situations which may arise in teaching and how to address these effectively; why assessment and feedback are so important to student learning; and the role of evaluation in developing your teaching practice. By the end of the session you will be able to:

  • Identify and choose key techniques to use in your teaching
  • Recognise a range of assessment and feedback approaches
  • Explain the role of evaluation and reflection in your teaching practice

Career Planning: Your PhD, What next? Bitesize (RDF: B3)

Working out what you really want from your career and creating a career narrative to make sense of where you have been and where you are going. In this session you will have the opportunity to consider what you are seeking in your life post-PhD whether it be academic or non-academic, explore career decision making theory and its relevance to your potential pathway and discover career resources to facilitate your career pathway. By the end of the workshop you will be able to:

  • Embark upon self-analysis as a foundation for career planning;
  • Identify and consider career theory that could underpin your approach to moving towards forming and developing career goals;
  • Locate and use specific PGR and generic resources to pursue.

Blogging for Researchers (RDF: D2/3)

Blogging can be useful for researchers, whether as a way to reach out to a wider audience, to build your academic profile and web presence, as an opportunity to explore emergent ideas, or some other purpose. This workshop looks at:

  • The benefits of writing a blog
  • Choosing a blogging platform
  • Considering your audience
  • Writing styles and formats
  • Linking to other social media

By the end of the workshop you will be able to:

  • Evaluate which platform is best for your needs
  • Explore other considerations such as writing style, audience and related social media
  • Reflect on the benefits of writing a blog

The Old Library

10:00 - 11:00 Managing Anxiety

11:15 - 12:30 Project Management

13:30 - 15:00 Assertiveness

15:20 - 16:30 Personal Resilience


Managing Anxiety (RDF: B2)

The session will focus on the components of anxiety and explore some helpful solutions in reducing it. By the end of the session you will be able to:

  • Know the variations of anxiety;
  • Know the cognitive, behavioural and physiological aspects, including unhelpful thinking and behaviour patterns;
  • Know simple relaxation exercises.

Project Management (RDF: C2)

Discover tools that will help you to effectively manage your research. By the end of the session you will be able to:

  • Use appropriate tools to schedule and manage a research project;
  • Be able to monitor progress and deal with any changes, risks or issues that impact on their research;
  • Recognise research stakeholder needs and have a communication plan to meet their expectations.

Assertiveness (RDF:B1)

This workshop will provide you with information on assertive behaviour. By the end of the session you will be able to:

  • Recognise assertive behaviour;
  • Identify the benefits of assertive behaviour;
  • Develop an awareness of other types of non-assertive behaviour and the impact they have on communication

Personal Resilience (RDF: B1)

An opportunity to reflect on your personal resilience and to discover tools and techniques you can use to strengthen or develop resilience. By the end of the session you will:

  • Understand what is meant by 'resilience';
  • Have reflected on your own resilience, and identified opportunities and ways to develop your personal resilience.

Keele Sustainability Hub

10:00 - 11:00 Managing Anxiety

11:15 - 12:30 Project Management

13:30 - 15:00 Assertiveness

15:20 - 16:30 Personal Resilience


08:45 - 16:30 One-day Structured Writing Retreat

The aim of a structured writing retreat is to use dedicated writing time to progress writing projects in a supportive, non-surveillance environment. Example projects include: book or thesis chapters, journal articles, research proposals, conference abstracts/papers, reports, etc.  All individuals write together in the same room using the same programme of writing slots and refreshment/discussion breaks.

Retreat Programme:

08.45 - 09.15: Refreshments, getting seated, setting up laptops

09.15 - 09.40: Introduction, planning and goal setting

09.40 - 11.00: Writing (1 hr 20 mins)

11.00 - 11.30: Morning break, refreshments, discussion

11.30 - 12.30: Writing (1 hr)

12.30 - 13.30: Lunch break, discussion and time for a short walk

13.30 - 14.45: Writing (1 hr 15 mins)

14.45 - 15.00: Afternoon break, refreshments, discussion

15.00 - 16.00: Writing (1 hr)

16.00 - 16.30: Taking stock, discussion, feedback

What to bring to a retreat: Laptop, power cable, memory stick, notes, outlines, ‘model’ paper if helpful, data. Suitable footwear if you want to go for a walk at lunchtime.

Writing retreats works best when you:

  • Focus exclusively on writing.
  • Do not to use internet in the writing room.
  • Define specific goals and sub-goals, i.e. sections of paper/chapter, number of words.
  • Take stock of your achievements of these goals throughout the day.
  • Discuss your writing-in-progress on breaks to gain mutual peer support.

Preparation before you attend a retreat:

  • Decide on a writing project and outline the structure of your paper/chapter.
  • Review retreat programme and plan writing tasks for timeslots in each day.
  • Do reading and other preparation before retreat, e.g. collating notes, plans, data.
  • Download what you need onto a memory stick.
  • Read Murray and Newton (2009) Writing retreat as structured intervention: Margin or mainstream? Higher Education Research and Development, 28(5): 527-39.